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'Mercy', 'Rehabilitation' and 'Restorative Justice'
Sentencing of South Africa's Oscar Pistorius offers stark reminder of concepts that seem to have gone missing from the justice system in the U.S...
'Green News Report' 10/21/14
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Previous GNRs: 10/14/14 - 10/16/14 - Archives...
Everything Old is Texas Again
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'Green News Report' 10/16/14
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Bloomberg on BRAD BLOG on Judge Richard Posner on Photo ID Voting Laws...
'By the sounds of it, the floor that supported voter-ID laws has just given way'...
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Watch the video. They're calling it 'FanGate'. We're just calling it Florida...
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Court determines law, passed over Dem Governor's veto, violates explicit right to vote in state Constitution...
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'Democracy's Gold Standard'
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

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Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
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Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Old, Out of Date Absentee Applications and Voter Registration Forms Found in Libraries Across Buckeye State!
Absentee Applications for 2000, Voter Registration Forms for 2004 Reportedly Found In Several Different Counties...
By Brad Friedman on 10/3/2006 6:05am PT  

Could this be the first dirty trick in Ohio's 2006 Election? If so, we also expect it won't be the last.

Former Hocking County, Ohio, Board of Elections Deputy Director turned 2004 recount whistleblower Sherole Eaton, and Paddy Shafer, campaign manager for Green Party Gubernatorial candidate and Ohio journalist Bob Fitrakis, contacted us over the weekend with some interesting news.

It seems that Absentee Ballot Applications with an election date of November 7, 2000 are showing up all over various public libraries in Ohio. A typo? Apparently not. The forms are old ones, but for some reason are being made available, along with old Voter Registration forms --- from 2004 --- in all sorts of locations!

Here's a sample from one of the photos they sent in over the weekend:

While all of this could simply be an innocent mistake, we'll remind you that this is Ohio, Election Snakepit and Dirty Tricks Capitol of the World since dethroning the previous world champ, Florida, but just by a hair, as of 2004.

The "innocent mistake" theory seems more unlikely since it seems to have been found in so many locations, as described by Shafer and Eaton (see a full letter from Eaton below), who told us she never saw even a single such occurrence while serving as an election official during the entire 2004 Bloodbath in the Buckeye State.

"Innocent mistake" or not, remember: Ohio Sec. of State J. Kenneth Blackwell rejected thousands of Voter Registration forms in 2004 because they weren't on heavy enough paper stock. So would he flinch for a second at tossing out "old" Voter Registration forms received today? Or refuse to send an Absentee Ballot because it failed to specify the correct election date? Especially, when he points out on his official SoS website, that such applications require "A statement identifying the election for which you are requesting an absentee voter's ballot?"

As well, the rules for such applications have changed as the Ohio legislature has imposed new, draconian laws in their never ending attempt to keep people from being able to vote. The last four digits of the voter's Social Security number is now required on Voter Registration forms, but was only optional on the 2004 forms. Just another reason that Blackwell may be able to use to reject an application at his whim.

The official SoS site tells voters that they may pick up Voter Registration forms at "public libraries" on the page answering the question "How can I obtain an Ohio voter registration application?" So does the SoS have the responsibility to make sure that such applications are properly made available in such places?

Blackwell, of course, is also running for Governor, even while overseeing the completely fair and impartial adminstration of his own election as SoS. (The good news, when last we checked, he was some 20 points behind his Dem opponent, Ted Strickland.)

Eaton has more details, and warnings for all Ohioans in the following letter she sent to us last night...It's posted in full below...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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CLINT CURTIS TO THE HILL: 'If I win Feeney will be in jail. He's acting frantic because he is frantic'
ALSO: As a Member of the House GOP Leadership, What Did Deputy Whip Feeney Know About His Florida Colleague Mark Foley's Predatory Behavior and When Did He Know It?
By Brad Friedman on 10/2/2006 1:31pm PT  

Signs (along with the desperate and shameful campaign smear website and smear blog he created) that Tom Feeney (R-Abramoff) may be in trouble down in Florida in his race against whistleblower-turned-opponent Clint Curtis in the 24th district congressional race?

This today from from the Orlando Sentinel (who had previously endorsed Curtis' primary opponent, before Clint thumped him 2 to 1 in the recent election):

POLITICAL PULSE
Hobnob votes could provide some hints about general election

Straw votes taken at political hobnobs are often wildly off the mark. But they're still fun.

Here are some results from last week's hobnob sponsored by the DeLand Area Chamber of Commerce.

Bill Nelson whipped up on Katherine Harris in the U.S. Senate race.

Congressional incumbents John Mica and Tom Feeney won, though Feeney's race was much closer.

Also, as it's been reported that the House GOP leadership was informed about Rep. Mark Foley's predatory behavior with minors in the Congressional page program months ago and apparently took no action, it's fair to ask what Feeney, as both a Deputy Whip in the House and a fellow member of the Florida caucus, knew about Foley's behavior and when he knew it.

Feeney's campaign, by the way, has received money from Foley in the past, according to this report from MyDD.

Like his colleague Foley, Feeney has enjoyed trumpeting his own work in the House to create legislation to protect children from predatory behavior. Like Foley, (and those Feeney hangs with from DeLay to Abramoff to Ney to Cunningham to Jeb and George W.), he's never been big on transparency or honesty either. So we expect he'll do whatever he can to dance, dodge and otherwise obfuscate on this matter as usual, unless someone holds his feet to the fire.

We'd love to be proven wrong, but we're not holding our breath.

Oh...and this from The Hill last week, in response to Feeney's "crazy" campaign smear sites:

And the accusations of mental illness? A desperate measure, Curtis says. "If I win and get investigations going, he’ll be in jail," he said. "He's acting frantic because he is frantic."

...

For more info on The BRAD BLOG's continuing investigative series on
The Clint Curtis/Tom Feeney/Yang Enterprises Vote-Rigging Scandal series, please see:
- A Quick Summary of the story so far.
- An Index of all the Key Articles & Evidence in the series so far.
- Curtis is now running for U.S. Congress against Feeney.
To support or for more info, see: www.ClintCurtis.com
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UPDATE: Says He'd be Interested in Running for U.S. Senate Seat in NY if it Became Available!
NOW INCLUDES FULL VIDEO!
By Brad Friedman on 10/2/2006 1:08pm PT  

Bobby will be on Your World w/ Cavuto on Fox "News" momentarily. We'll UPDATE this item with a video and/or transcript later today if we can catch it.

We'll hope it's less of a hatchet job than Cavuto delivered the last time he interviewed Kennedy, after Kennedy's first Rolling Stone story on these matters.

Have things changed? We'll see. But we wouldn't bet any money on it. Especially after Cavuto's shameful performance last time.

UPDATE: Good thing we didn't bet money. Cavuto actually let him get out a complete sentence or two without cutting him off! What in the world has gotten into Fox?

Kennedy discussed the Emergency Paper Ballot initiative proposed last week by House and Senate Dems (for which not a single Republican would sign on, reportedly amid threats to add disenfranchising Photo ID requirement laws as retaliation for the bill - more on all of that soon), the ease of hacking these systems by both parties, and some news: He said he'd now be interested in running for the U.S. Senate seat from NY should it open up! The seat was once his father's, and to our knowledge it's the first time he's publicly stated he'd be interested in running!

FURTHER UPDATE: Video now available below, with a huge hat-tip to the democracy-lovin' folks at Solar Bus!


-- Windows Media Player version...

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The Founder of Mainstreet Moms Explains Why She Aims to Restore Democracy, One Pollworker at a Time...
By Megan Matson on 10/1/2006 11:05am PT  

Guest Blogged by Megan Matson of The Mainstreet Moms, Co-Founder of Pollworkers for Democracy

Pollworkers for Democracy (P4D) is a non-partisan, direct citizen action campaign built in response to broken elections and plummeting voter confidence. A coalition effort of Mainstreet Moms, VoteTrustUSA, Working Assets and many others, P4D taps into widespread election integrity concerns to recruit a new wave of informed - and observant - American pollworkers in the 2006 elections.

===

A few of us started talking about pollworkers in the middle of yet another electronic voting machines hearing in California's capitol. A recalcitrant Registrar was saying, "You have to weigh the transparency across the process." This sounded a lot like "catapult the propaganda," so I listened more closely. "We have public scrutiny: the press is right there on Election Day," he continued. Ah, the press. Not quite the scrutiny we're looking for. "Every piece of information doesn't need to go out to the public," he finally concluded, in something close to a whine.

Sometime later, I sat listening to a leading member of the election integrity movement say to a roomful, "The biggest challenge we face is the closed nature of the election officials community." So how do we open this thing up, I wondered. What do these officials need? Lawsuits are heavenly, but there must be ways to be useful to the more valiant officials as well. Not just the Ions [Ion Sancho, Leon Co., FL] and the Freddies [Freddie Oakley, Yolo Co., CA] and the Funks [Bruce Funk, Emery Co., UT], but the officials we don't hear about. Can we get in there, become a new piece of that culture, help them get their elections back to good?

So then the news went around about the average age of the American pollworker topping 72. It became clear that it's pollworkers those officials can use, and it's clearly pollworkers who can bring in real scrutiny. They're the first to be blamed when all goes wrong. They should be the first to report out when the disasters have nothing to do with "human error."

Because much like the climate crisis, the debate over electronic voting machines is long over. They're an across-the-board calamity for democracy, and a fiscal albatross for local governments everywhere. Put the machines aside, and we're looking at aggressive legislative maneuvers to restrict the franchise in state after state, with that wretched Voter I.D. law now lurching through Congress as well. Citizens see these tactics piled on to the abiding injustices of intimidation, caging and suppression, and recognize a fundamental assault on the mechanics of democracy. "But what can we do?" is the question. We can do a lot, is the answer, and a day at the polls is a piece of it. It's time to be outside and inside, it's time to be the diagnosis and the solution.

The more pollworkers we can all recruit and train together, the more information can come out of their November 7th experiences. Any data collected will be used to better inform media outreach, legal challenges where necessary, and key election reforms at the local, state and federal level. Pollworker observations will also be uploaded into the Election Protection Coalition's database to help build an accurate national portrait of this election overall...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 10/1/2006 8:05am PT  

From Mercury News Thursday (Sorry, been running behind for some reason)...

Just weeks before the November election, the Pentagon is struggling to fix its system for handling the votes of soldiers overseas.

Yet experts in computer security and election technology say the Pentagon's current attempt to keep those ballots from being rejected in large numbers, as they have been in past elections, has created a system that is ripe for fraud.

During the next six weeks, thousands of service members are expected to fax or e-mail ballots over international communications networks that are susceptible to interception and tampering, putting those votes at risk.

"I can't for the life of me figure out how the Defense Department decided this is the right thing to do," said Doug Jones, an associate professor of computer science at the University of Iowa.

And here's more...

[V]otes sent to the Pentagon will be forwarded to a private contractor whose top executives have made political contributions to Republican Party organizations.

See the full story, for more...it gets even worse.

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Columnist Writes Masterfully on Mountain of Evidence Against Company's Crappy Systems, Officials in State of Denial and More...
Only Small Quibble: His Advice to Vote by Absentee...So Here's Ours Instead...
By Brad Friedman on 9/30/2006 3:24pm PT  

A great column yesterday by Andrew Kantor in USA Today on the failure that is Diebold's electronic voting systems. An amusing (if painfully so) piece as well. He covers the mountain of evidence against Diebold's e-voting systems ("We send people to death row on flimsier and more circumstantial evidence," writes Kantor), the damage to our democracy, and the state of denial that officials, and the other dead-enders who support this technology, are now in.

His column includes this...

What more do people need to hear or to see or to read to convince them Diebold voting machines simply can't be trusted? A burning bush?

...And this...

And as for election and elected officials who insist that there is no danger in using Diebold machines, here's an important question: What will it take to convince them that these machines are not safe?

And I mean that. There has to be some threshold of evidence that will cause them to de-certify these machines. What is it? Does the San Diego Chicken have to be elected governor before you admit there's something wrong?

Because if we've entered the realm of "Nothing will convince me that these machines pose a problem," then they don't deserve to be in office. Period.

...Amongst other gems.

I hope he'll broaden his coverage to include the other manufacturers (ES&S, Sequoia, Hart InterCivic et al) soon, since there is no reason to believe their machines are any less shitty than Diebold's.

Only complaint is the headline and sidebar encouraging folks to vote by absentee ballot. On that, I sent Kantor the email below which I hope he (and you) will consider when advising folks to vote by absentee...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Dobbs Says, 'This country has got to think about going to paper ballots...If an election is close, we're in deep, deep trouble."
By John Gideon on 9/29/2006 1:43pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

"Congress today heard alarming testimony on the threat of electronic voting machines and experts at the hearing testified that e-voting machines are vulnerable to tampering, outright fraud, and political manipulation. They also testified it's uncertain whether the votes of millions of Americans will count on election day," said Lou Dobbs at the top of yesterday's report.

Thursday's Lou Dobb's Tonight Democracy at Risk segment centered on a hearing before the House Administration Committee yesterday where experts told the committee about the possibility of tampering, fraud, or political manipulation.

Dobbs closed with: "I think, we're at the point...that this country [has] got to start thinking about going to paper ballots because these machines --- it's obvious. The training is not there. The backup, the lack of a paper trail. If there is a close election anywhere in this country, we're in deep, deep trouble."

Princeton University's Ed Felten was on hand among those testifying to demonstrate his Diebold Virus Hack originally reported by Brad the week before last. Here's a taste:

PROF. EDWARD FELTEN, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: It takes about one minute of access to the machine. And I can show you roughly what would be involved. It would involve opening the door on the side of the machine, which would require getting a key, as I said, those are for sale on the Internet. There may be some security tape that would need to be removed and might be missing already.

Opening up this door, putting in a memory card like this, into the side of the machine. The memory card would have been prepared in advance with the computer virus on it. Then pressing the red power button and waiting about 30 seconds.

PILGRIM: The committee clearly need no additional evidence that the computer could be effectively hacked.

The text-transcript of Thursday's segment on Lou Dobbs Tonight follows in full...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Another One Bites the Dust as U.S. Congressman Quits in Light of Creepy Email, Sexually Explicit Internet Chats with Minors!
UPDATED: Foley Was Part of GOP Congressional Leadership, Chair of House Caucus on Missing & Exploited Children!
By Brad Friedman on 9/29/2006 1:15pm PT  

Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) became the latest in a growing line of Republican Congressmen to suddenly resign and/or drop their re-election bid in the face of scandal.

Creepy e-mails had recently been released from Foley to a 16-year old boy. RAW STORY has the series of emails. ABC News has the story of Foley's resignation just moments ago.

UPDATE: ABC News now has text of sexually explicit Instant Message conversations between Foley and a teen boy. We should have pointed out previously, in addition to being a part of the GOP leadership in Congress, Foley was also Chairman of the House caucus on missing and exploited children! From ABC...

In Congress, Rep. Foley (R-FL) was part of the Republican leadership and the chairman of the House caucus on missing and exploited children.

He crusaded for tough laws against those who used the Internet for sexual exploitation of children.

"They're sick people; they need mental health counseling," Foley said.

Guess he was just doing research...

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Says 'We Can Do This', Thanks BRAD BLOGGERS for Taking Action!
By Brad Friedman on 9/29/2006 12:02pm PT  

We've just received the following letter from Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA). She was the first to answer our urgent plea last week to immediately introduce Federal legislation in Congress for Emergency Paper Ballots to be made available at polling places this November. In the letter, she requests the BRAD BLOG community send email via her PAC website to their members of Congress in order to urge them to pass this incredibly important legislation before adjourning this week.

Dear Brad & the entire BradBlog community,

I’d just like to thank all of you so much for all of your hard work in fighting for safe, secure, and reliable elections in our country.

When I saw the mess in some primary states due to touch screen voter machines, I knew I had to do something. As a result of your advocacy work on this issue for a long time now, I was motivated to get a simple, straightforward paper ballot bill out there. So thank you for being on this issue for so long and for pressing for action.

The bill I introduced on Tuesday, the "Confidence in Voting Act," would encourage local jurisdictions to make paper ballots available at every polling place to any voter who wants one. But now we’ve got to get it passed! I encourage people to join my online advocacy campaign and contact their Members of Congress, urging them to pass the "Confidence in Voting Act" before Congress adjourns this week:

http://ga4.org/campaign/...n_voting?source=bradblog

We can do this --- but we need to build grassroots support for our legislation to get it done.

Thanks to Brad --- and to all of you --- for speaking out on this issue, and for your passion in fighting for election integrity across America.

-- Barbara Boxer

The good Senator has been there for us before (you'll recall, she was the only Senator to stand up and challenge the clearly gamed 2004 Ohio Presidential Election results on Jan. 6th 2005...Back before it was fashionable to point out what virtually everyone now recogizes!) --- so let's be there for her! CLICK HERE NOW! And then pass it on! And thank you Senator!

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Donna Brazile Posts Open Letter Encouraging Citizens to Pressure Lawmakers!
(While, So Far, All Republican Congress Members Remain Apparently Uninterested in Ensuring American Citizens Can Vote This November!)
By Brad Friedman on 9/28/2006 5:05pm PT  

In her role as Chair of the Democratic National Committee's Voting Rights Institute (VRI), Donna Brazile has issued a statement to The BRAD BLOG moments ago in support of the Congressional Emergency Paper Ballot legislation now pending in the U.S. House and Senate.

Announcing that "We still have time to address the e-voting security crisis!," Brazile writes in her "Open Letter to Supporters of Democracy of America" in support of the House (HR 6187) and Senate (S. 3943) bills introduced this week calling for Emergency Paper Ballots at the polls this November, in the light of voting system failures across the country in primaries so far this year.

She calls on citizens to "pressure...lawmakers to support legislation that would help produce a fair and transparent election." (Full letter posted at the end of this article)

The "time to address" the crisis, at least on the Federal level, is quickly drawing to a close as Congress will likely adjourn tomorrow for the Election Recess. Citizens are asked to call their legislators (House switchboard: 202-225-3121, Senate switchboard: 202-224-3121) to demand they pass this bill immediately.

Maryland's Republican Governor Robert Ehrlich recently called for a similar state measure after his state turned away thousands from the polls, or handed them provisional ballots, when electronic voting machines failed to start up during their September 12th primary election.

Brazile's call to push for the Emergency Paper Ballot legislation this afternoon is notable. She has come under fire in the past from critics in the Election Integrity Advocacy movement for failing to take a firm enough stance, in her role at the DNC VRI, to alert Americans to the potential for fraud, inaccuracy and disenfranchisement via electronic voting systems.

The DNC endorsement for the legislation by Brazile is the latest in a growing drumbeat of politicians and non-partisan Election Integrity organizations calling on supporters and members to help pass the 11th hour legislation, co-sponsored in the Senate by Senators Boxer, Dodd, Feingold and Kerry and in the House by Rep. Rush Holt and several other co-sponsors.

The BRAD BLOG originally proposed this legislation early last week. As of this hour, not a single Republican in the U.S. Congress has publicly endorsed the legislation or joined as co-sponsor to help ensure that all registered American voters will actually be able to cast a vote at all this November.

The complete open letter from Brazile, issued this afternoon on behalf of the DNC's Voting Rights Insitute, follows in full...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Media Gets on Board, Dems Get on Board...So Where are the Republicans in Congress?
UPDATED WITH VIDEO LINK!
By John Gideon on 9/28/2006 8:50am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon (Augmented by Brad Friedman)

Wednesday's Lou Dobbs Tonight on CNN picks up on the Emergency Paper Ballot legislation now filed in both the U.S. House and Senate.

Additionally, the story was also covered on MSNBC's Hardball yesterday (video with RFK Jr. here) and the NY Times picked it up the day before.

The Media is beginning to get it, the Democrats in Congress (those who have sponsored it, anyway) are beginning to get it. So where are the Congressional Republicans? Do they not want American citizens to be able to vote this November? We're just asking.

Said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), one of the original sponsors of the Senate legislation to Kitty Pilgrim on CNN last night: "I really have lost a lot of faith in these machines and it's expensive. Why not just go back to the simple paper ballot, at least until we're really sure that we've resolved all the problems?"

Dodd, Feingold and Kerry have now joined here on the Senate bill (S. 3943) and Holt's bill has several Democratic co-sponsors in the House (HR 6187).

The BRAD BLOG proposed the idea of Emergency Paper Ballots early last week, but the legislative session will likely adjourn this week for the Election Recess. Action is needed now in order to mitigate the possiblity of millions of Americans being disenfranchised this November. Please call and/or write your Congress Members of both parties now.

UPDATE: Video Now Available here... (Hat-tip BRAD BLOG commenter "Stop_George")

The complete text-transcript of Wednesday's segment on Lou Dobbs Tonight follows in full...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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'It's the Help America Vote Act, not the Help Diebold Profit Act,' Says Dem Nominee
State Senator Debra Bowen, Staunch Election Transparency Proponent, Issues Strong Statement on Congressional Initatives!
By Brad Friedman on 9/28/2006 8:30am PT  

The Democratic nominee for Secretary of State in California issued a powerful statement in support of recent legislation filed by several Senators and Representatives in both the U.S. House and Senate calling for Emergency Paper Ballots at the polling place this November.

The 11th hour Congressional bills, filed on Tuesday and Wednesday, just days before both chambers adjourn for the Election Recess, will offer voters the right to vote on paper ballots this year and see those costs reimbursed by the Federal Government. The legislation, if passed, is estimated to cost approximately $10 million. It would amend the disastrous 2002 Help America Vote Act (HAVA) which has mandated some $3 billion to encourage States and Counties to "upgrade" to electronic voting systems.

Monumental failures in those systems, during primary elections across the country over the last several months, have sent thousands of voters away from the polls without being able to cast any vote at all. The situation could be far worse during the general election when voter turnout will be a great deal higher than it's been so far in the mid-year primaries.

"Remember, it's the 'Help America Vote Act,' not the 'Help Diebold Profit Act,'" said Bowen, in a stinging comment referring to one of America's largest manufacturers of inaccurate, untested, hackable elecronic voting machines. "It's why this low-tech option makes so much sense, especially in light of all of the problems electronic voting machines have had in primary elections this year, not just in California, but also in Texas, Illinois, and most recently Maryland."

The BRAD BLOG originally proposed the idea for Emergency Paper Ballots early last week. The low-tech, high common-sense notion has gained considerable steam since its inception on these pages. It has now been officially introduced as legislation in Congress by Senators Boxer, Dodd, Feingold and Kerry in the Senate, and by Representative Rush Holt and several co-sponsors in the U.S. House.

Bowen's Republican opponent, Sec. of State Bruce McPherson was appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and has come under considerable fire for re-certifying Diebold systems in the state in light of severe warnings from his own team of scientific advisors about more than a dozen "serious vulnerabilities" in those particular voting systems.

An investigate report from BlackBoxVoting.org [PDF], a non-partisan E-voting watchdog organization, found that representative of Diebold's had actually drafted official documents on behalf of the California Secretary of State's office!

That same rep, Rob Pelletier, had previously been presenting disinformation in comments here at The BRAD BLOG under the name of "Wally O'Diebold" until he was found out.

Diebold voting systems were decertified in California by McPherson's predecessor, just prior to the 2004 election, when it was discovered the company had been installing uncertified software and systems in several counties across the state. They settled a qui tam (fraud) lawsuit with the state for $2.8 million later that year.

Though the legislation in the Congress so far has been sponsored by Democrats, the problem is a decidedly non-partisan issue. Maryland's Republican Governor Robert Ehrlich recently called for paper ballots to be used in his state this November after failures across the state disenfranchised thousands of voters during their September 12th primary. Maryland, along with Georgia, was Diebold's "showcase" state having installed their paperless electronic touch-screen systems as early as 2002 with the cooperation and ardent support of the Democratic MD Elections Director, Linda Lamone.

Citing the irony of the public outcry for a return to countable paper balloting, the failure of the U.S. Congress to take action on growing concerns, and the plunging confidence rate in electronic voting amongst the American electorate, Bowen said in her statement, "It's about time Congress provides counties with the incentive to allow their voters to cast a paper ballot at the polls on Election Day, a step that will help begin to restore voter confidence in the elections process and the results."

Bowen, in her capacity as chair of the CA State Senate Elections Commission, held hearings in Kern County, California after the state's marred June 6th primary, when voting systems failed to start up --- or sometimes even show up at the polls at all --- until hours after voting was supposed to have begun. The Kern County Registrar of Voters had, incredibly, given instructions that "back-up paper ballots were not to be used" on Election Day according to the State Senators statement.

"Kern County is the reason why I wish counties were required to provide this option to voters," Bowen remarked.

Citizens are asked to call upon Congress to pass the Emergency Paper Ballot legislation immediately. You may easily contact your Senators here, and your House Members here.

Debra Bowen's complete statement on Emergency Paper Ballots follows in full...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Another Election Integrity Organization Joins Drumbeat Hoping to Mitigate Disaster this November With Last Chance Common Sense Legislation!
By Brad Friedman on 9/28/2006 12:45am PT  

This from an email tonight from VoteTrustUSA.org email list, from their Executive Director, Joan Krawitz, urging citizens to call Congress NOW to demand passage of the Emergency Paper Ballot bills just filed in both the Senate and the House!

URGENT ACTION ALERT!
TELL CONGRESS TO PASS EMERGENCY PAPER BALLOT BILLS NOW!

...

It All Comes Down to You! Your Calls Make a Difference. Call Your Representative NOW!

A flood of phone calls from constituents could be all it will take to break the roadblock at this critical moment. Pick up the phone NOW and call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-225-3121. Tell your Representative that Congress must pass HR 6187 before they adjourn, to make sure that every vote will count when voting machines malfunction or count votes incorrectly as they have in every primary this year.

If you don't know your Representative's name, click here and enter your zip code to find out. You can also use this link to find your Representative's direct telephone number on Capitol Hill by clicking on his or her photo, which will appear once you've entered your zip code.

Then Immediately Call Both of Your Senators

As soon as you hang up with your Representative's office, call the Senate switchboard at 202-224-3121 to speak with both of your Senators' offices. Tell them to pass S. 3943 before Congress adjourns to ensure that every vote will count in November. If you don't know both your Senators' names, click here and enter your zip code to find out. You can also use this link to find your Senator's direct telephone number on Capitol Hill by clicking on his or her photo, which will appear once you've entered your zip code.

Every moment counts, so please don't delay. Make those phone calls as if our democracy depended on it --- because that's what it comes down to today.

Joan asks that you forward this to everyone you know. We ask the same. (The URL for this item is: http://www.bradblog.com/?p=3544)

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Kerry Joins Original Senate Bill as Co-Sponsor, Joins with Feingold in Filing New Senate Resolution as Well!
Feingold Says, 'Back-up Paper Ballots Essential to Preventing Disasters', Kerry Calls Situation 'Disgrace, National Scandal, Requiring Emergency Action Now'!
By Brad Friedman on 9/27/2006 1:14pm PT  

Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ) has now filed a U.S. House version of the Emergency Paper Ballot legislation introduced yesterday by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Chris Dodd (D-CT) in the Senate.

Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) joined the Senate legislation as co-sponsors late last evening.

Additionally, Kerry and Feingold both have now co-sponsored and introduced a new "Sense of the Senate Resolution" calling on States around the country to act immediately to put back-up plans in place to have "Emergency Paper Ballots" at the polling places this November to avoid voters being turned away when voting machines fail to work. Thousands, so far this year, have been turned away in one state primary after another due to machine malfunction or unavailability.

The language in the Holt bill filed in the House late last night is identical to the bill filed by Boxer, except that it notes, explicitly, that the "contigency paper ballots" the Federal government will reimburse states for are to be counted as regular ballots --- not as provisional ballots which often go completely uncounted, and must be vetted first to determine a voter's registration status.

Feingold and Kerry issued a press release today (posted in full at the end of this article) calling on Congress to act immediately in the face of what they describe as "a national disgrace," in reference to voters being turned away at the polling place for lack of voting system on which to vote.

Holt's bill, which can be downloaded here [PDF], differs from the Senate bill by stating that jurisdictions who wish to reimbursed by the Federal government for such contingency paper ballots must treat "each such contingency paper ballot cast by a voter as a regular ballot cast in the election and counts it accordingly, and does not treat it as a provisional ballot."

Kerry and Feingold, who are now co-sponsors of the Boxer/Dodd Senate bill filed yesterday, also issued a non-binding "Sense of the Senate" resolution this morning. Pamela Leavy originally reported the news earlier today at Democratic Daily.

In a press release issued earlier along with that resolution today, Feingold said, "We cannot allow the American people to lose faith in the most fundamental aspect of our democratic system ­the right to vote."

He added, "Some of the problems we saw this year, like voters in Maryland being told to come back later because the machines weren’t working, are simply unacceptable. A back-up plan as simple as having emergency paper ballots on hand is essential to preventing election day disasters."

Kerry, who has been criticized for not taking enough action to ensure that votes were counted accurately, or at all, in Ohio after the 2004 Presidential Election, had even stronger words, calling the lack of action by Congress and the White House on these matters, "a disgrace" and a "national scandal".

"It’s a disgrace that a Congress and an Administration which talks about exporting democracy around the world ignores the challenges of our own democracy right here at home," says Kerry in this morning's news release. "We have seen American citizens disenfranchised in our elections for the simple reason that no effective back up system was in place. That’s a national scandal."

Kerry called for "emergency action" and points to the recent meltdown in Maryland's September 12th primary election, which resulted in the Republican Governor there, calling for a similar measure to scrap the machines, and allow all voters in the state to use paper ballots this November.

"[H]ere we are, 42 days away from another election," Kerry said, "and Congress has again dragged its feet even after we mobilized 35,000 citizens to demand a hearing for our Count Every Vote Act, even after what we saw just this month in Montgomery County [Maryland]. We need emergency action now. That is why I am co-sponsoring the Dodd-Boxer legislation to provide emergency paper ballots and that is why Russ Feingold and I are introducing our resolution today demanding election day back-up plans."

"We have a duty to ensure that no citizen will be denied the right to vote in 2006," Kerry concluded.

The BRAD BLOG began the call for Emergency Paper Ballot legislation just over a week ago.

The SoS Project has set up a page where citizens can contact Congress Members to demand they pass this legislation in the few days left before breaking for the Election Recess.

We urge citizens to use this link and contact Congress immediately.

The full text of the Feingold/Kerry press release follows...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Your Friendly Neighborhood BRAD BLOGGER Quoted as Part of Coverage...
[UPDATE: NYTimes Late Edition, Russ Feingold Joins as Co-Sponsor!]
By Brad Friedman on 9/26/2006 6:09pm PT  

In an article by Ian Urbina, The New York Times' now has their story up about the Senate's Emergency Paper Ballot legislation as filed earlier today by Senators Boxer and Dodd.

UPDATE: An updated version of the NYTimes article, now linked above, has added Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) as a co-sponsor of the legislation as well!

The BRAD BLOG broke the story earlier today in a bit more detail, and along with the actual bill filed. We originally called on Congress in article published here a week ago today, to introduce and pass such a bill before their Election Recess coming up at the end of this week.

Urbina offers several additional points worth checking out in his Times coverage. Including this quote from Boxer concerning her reasons for not making the paper ballot initiative mandatory, but rather allowing it to remain optional to states and local jurisdictions [emphasis ours]:

"I think Big Brother dictating something to local jurisdictions is a big mistake, because they will balk at it," she said. "What we’re saying here is that you run your own elections, and we are going to help you run it properly. If local officials don’t take advantage of the option to take precautions, then they’re the ones on the line."

...As well, "Brad Friedman, a liberal blogger" is mentioned in the Times article.

So as the good Senator B, doesn't get the idea we were dissing her bill to the NY Times (We weren't! Not by any means!) in the comments attributed to us in the piece, please us allow a clarification.

The statement they used from us, had originally preceded a full direct quote explaining that Election Directors from states like Florida had expressed concern that they might need a Federal mandate in order to take advantage of the this paper ballot legislation. State election code in Florida, we're told, does not have provisions allowing such elections officials to make paper ballots available, even if they wanted to.

In Florida's touch-screen-only counties, for example, which comprise some 50% of Sunshine State voters, even the Provisional Balloting is done electronically on touch-screen systems! Which means, as Leon County, FL Election Director Ion Sancho explained to us this morning, that without a Federal mandate, it's likely that those officials would not be able to take advantage of this legislation...even if it manages to get through the full Congress in the few days left before Congress breaks for their Election Recess.

UPDATE: Ah, proof, I'm not crazy! In this version of the Times article (how many do they release?!) there is this additional quote from yours truly:

"In the case of many states, such as Florida, there is simply nothing in the state code that allows election directors to provide emergency ballot in the event of machine failure," he said.

See? Phew...

Beyond that, given the short time left here, we're delighted to see this legislation move forward! Delighted to see the Times' coverage. And just delighted in general that someone in Washington D.C. is finally recognizing the dangers to democracy that we're facing in the upcoming mid-term election!

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